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Greek Pantheon of Gods

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition


1. Zeus - The youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, he was the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus. Being the supreme ruler he upheld law, justice and morals, and this made him the spiritual leader of both gods and men.

2. Prometheus- was the son of one of the gods of Greek mythology. He was friendly with mortals. He stole fire from the heavens and gave it to the people on Earth. He also predicted Zeus' doom, but not how it would occur. Prometheus was chained to a mountainside and stayed there for thirty years until Hercules rescued him.

3. Hera- was the queen of the Olympian Gods. She was the wife and sister of Zeus. She was born to Kronos and Rhea. Mother of Ares and Hephaestus; She was the protectress of women, presiding over marriage and childbirth.

4. Apollo- is the Greek God of music. He was the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. He directed the choir of the Muses. Known for poetry, dance, and intellectual inquiry. He is recognized by his bows and arrows, the laurel crown on his head, and the lyre (mini harp).

5. Hermes- The herald of the Olympian gods, is son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades, Hermes is the god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, and known for his cunning and shrewdness. Most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods; He was also a minor patron of poetry. He was worshiped throughout Greece, especially in Arcadia, and festivals in his honor were called Hermoea.

6. Athena- She is the daughter of Zeus and Metus (wisdom), she is known to be the patron Goddess associated with the protection of cities and acropolis, Along with many responsibilities, she was in charge of the fruiting of Olive trees and charged with the protection of horses and oxen. An owl symbolizes her. Artists such as sculptors, architects, and practitioners prayed to her as a goddess of the arts of peace.

7. Artemis- is the daughter or Leto and Zeus, she also has a twin sister named Apollo. She is the goddess of wilderness. Artemis was known for the crescent of the moon on her forehead, and was a virgin goddess of one of the Olympians. Her main purpose was roaming the mountains, forests, and uncultivated land in search for hunting lions, panthers, hinds, and stags.

8. Ares- is the Greek God of War. Zeus and Hera were his parents. Though tall and handsome he was known to be very cruel. The sounds of battle made him put on his golden helmet and leap on his chariot. With a sword in hand, he caused massive bloodshed, leaving behind pain, panic, and suffering, His two sons, Romulus and Remus were the  mythological founders of Rome, Thus he was more important to the Romans than his Greek counterpart.

8. Aphrodite-

The Origins of Aphrodite

According to Hesiod she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus, He then tossed the genitals into the sea. The immortal flesh eventually spread into a circle of white foam and so from that foam, Aphrodite was created, Her name means "sea foam," But according to Homer. Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. So great were Aphrodite's seductive abilities that every god, including the great Zeus, desired her as his wife, However, Aphrodite was too proud for any of her suitors and rejected them all, As a punishment, Zeus made her the wife of Hephaestus. He could hardly believe his good luck and used all his skills to make the most extravagant jewels for her; He made her a girdle of gold and wove magic into it. So her charms came from her magic girdle that, in both gods and men, aroused passion for the wearer.

Aphrodite's Use of Her Powers

Aphrodite's power over love is revealed to be very influential through time, Her power was unlike any other god, When the Trojan prince Paris was asked give the golden apple to the most beautiful of the three Olympian goddesses, he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena. The other two had hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris eloped with her. Aphrodite's influence on the judgment of Paris indirectly caused the Trojan War.

10. Vulcan - Heavy Metal God. Hephaestus is the lame, craftsman god and husband of Aphrodite. Hephaestus was known as Vulcan by the Romans.

11. Poseidon- is most famous as the god of the sea. Poseidon is the son of Cronus and Rhea and he is one of six siblings. The power of the world was divided between Poseidon and his siblings: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Zeus. The division of the universe was between him and his two brothers. Poseidon became ruler of the sea, Zeus ruled the sky, and Hades got the underworld. Poseidon is also known as the god of earthquakes and of horses. The symbols associated with Poseidon are dolphins, tridents, and three-pronged fish spears.

12. Dionysus - He is the Thracian god of wine, he has the power to intoxicate and social influence. He is seen as the promoter of civilization, a lawgiver, and a lover of peace.

13. Hades ­- Son of Cronus and Rhea, and brother of Zeus and Poseidon. The god of the underworld, the "house of "Hades" was a dreadful abode deep down in the earth, and the god was invoked by rapping on the ground. Among Romans, usually called Dis Pater ("wealthy father") and Orcus, actual slayer, the-angel of death, while Father Dis was the ruler of the dead. Oldest name: Hades, Aides or Aiidoneus, “the Unseen." The brothers killed their father to cast lots for the kingdoms of the heaven, the sea, and the infernal regions. The last fell to Hades where he ruled with his wife Persephone over the other powers below and over the dead. Feared by gods and men. He is pitiless and doesn't care about prayers or flattery. Orpheus was the only who prevailed upon him to restore his wife Eurydice. The Cyclopes gave him a helmet after being released from Tartarus, rendered him invisible (like the Tarn--or Nebelkappe of German mythology). The fearful dog, Cerberus, challenged unauthorized spirits who tried to enter or leave Hades. Later the idea of his character underwent a radical change, he became a beneficent god (Pluto), the bestower of grain, mineral, and other blessings produced in the depths of the earth instead of the life-hating god of death.

14. Demeter - ("bringer of seasons") She is the goddess of agriculture. She was also said to preserve marriage and its sacred laws.

15. Acropolis- A fortified city atop a hill. The acropolis hill, the so called "sacred rock" of Athens, was a citadel built on a hill in Athens which was (and still is) host to many Greek architectural masterpieces and holy temples of the ancient gods (most notably the Parthenon, an architectural masterpiece and temple of worship for Athena, mother of the city in which the acropolis resided).  

16. The Iliad and Ithicas- the Iliad is the story of the wrath of Achilles and its consequences, The Trojan war. Achilles argues with Agamemnon about capturing the woman, Biselis. Achilles sulks in his tent and denies the participation of the war. Achilles friend, Patroclus, discards Achilles' commands and wears Achilles' armor commanding the army to go with him. In the end, Patroclus is killed in the battle. Achilles avenges his death killing Hector, Trojan hero of Troy, buries Patroclus, and at the entreaty of Priam, gives Hector's body to his aged father. The Iliad is the oldest surviving epic.

17. Heinrich Schliemann- German archeologist who found the remains of Troy, which most scholars believed to be fictional. He excavated Hissarlik, on the northwest coast of Turkey where he found Troy and even earlier settlements beneath it. He made this great discovery, by using the works of Homer, and with them he also found other ancient sites, including Mycenae, the city ruled by King Agamemnon.

18. Athens- Becoming known for the most beautiful city in Greece, Athens was a flourishing civilization on top of the-famous rocky hill Acropolis. This was the exact location where literature, the arts, drama, and the democratic government excelled throughout The Classical Period: 480-323 B.C.

19. Sparta-Peloponnesian War   Ancient Greek city famous for their outstanding military. The Peloponnesian War was a war between Sparta and Athens in which Sparta was victorious.

20. Delphi- in ancient times was the site of the Delphic oracle Sibyl dedicated to the god Apollo. She sang her predictions which were received by Gaia. Delphi was revered throughout the Greek World as the site of 'the stone' or center of the earth. It is located in a plateau on the side of Mt. Parnassus.

21. Oracle - The age of the oracles was from around 700 B.C. to about 300 A.D. The world oracle can describe three things the person through which god speaks, the actual temple or shrine of the god, and it also describes the answer given by the god through the prophet.

22. Crete- The largest Greek island and the home of the Minoan Civilization who lived between 3000 and 1450 B.C. Crete was a mercantile nation engaged in overseas trade. The Minoan Civilization thrived during the Bronze Age, but saw its decline with the discovery of iron. Because there are no written records, historians only have legends to decipher the ancient civilization.

23. Knossos- ancient city of Crete on the north coast. It was the center of a Bronze Age culture, and was the leading city in the Archaic, Classical, and the Hellenistic periods. It was best known as the location of the great Minoan palace, and the site of King Minos' capital and labyrinth. Knossos was destroyed before 1500, supposedly by an earthquake, was rebuilt and then destroyed again circa 1400. Knossos became an ordinary but flourishing Greek city; it was made a Roman colony in 36 B.C.E. and prospered until the 4th century.

24. Agamemnon- The son of Atteus and brother of Menelaus, Agamemnon was the king of Mycenae. He was also a leader in the Trojan war of the Greek army. Clytemnestra was Agamemnon's wife who had several children for him. He was a very boastful person who had little or no concern for others. For instance when he was willing to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia against her own will to ensure a safe journey to Troy he was willing to do so. After the war Agamemnon came home to find his wife cheating on him. He was not home for very long; his wife and her lover murdered him.

25. Clytemnestra - The wife of Agamemnon, she is also believed to be born from a union between Zeus and Leda. While Agamemnon was away at war Clytemnestra started a love affair with one of his kinsmen. Clytemnestra killed both Agamemnon and Princess Cassandra of Troy who he brought back with him. Agamemnon's death was avenged by his son Orestes.

26. Electra- The daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, king and queen of Mycenae and sister of Orestes. Electra helped her brother Orestes kill their mother and her lover Aegisthus after Clytemnestra had murdered their father. The vengeance of Electra and Orestes have been Dramatized by the three great tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. It is also said that Electra later married Pylades, Orestes' friend, and had two sons with him. The Greek myth of Electra avenging her father's death by killing her mother and lover helped to develop the Freudian concept known as the Electra complex. This complex is the subconscious sexual attraction of a daughter to her father or a father figure, often to exclude the mother.

27. Orestes- was the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra and the brother of Electra. When his father came back home from the Trojan War he was murdered by his wife and her lover, Aegithus. Orestes wanted to get revenge and when he reached adulthood he and his sister plotted the murder of both their mother and her lover. As a consequence Orestes was followed everywhere he went by the Erinyes. After Orestes was acquitted the Erinyes left him alone.

28. Odysseus- He was the son of Laertes and the king of Ithaca. He fought in the Trojan War. It took Odysseus ten years to return home from Troy since he was faced with obstacles and misfortune. Some of these include lotus plants, a Cyclops and a nymph named Calypso. He returned home to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus and all peace had returned.

29. Penelope- the wife of Odysseus, from Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey. Penelope waited two decades for her husband Odysseus to return to his kingdom of Ithaca. She remained faithful throughout all the suitors that almost took over the kingdom. When Penelope was asked to make her decision on which she was to marry, she told the suitors that she would make her decision when the shroud for Odysseus was completed. She spent all day weaving and then secretly at night she would unweave all that she had to delay her decision-making.

30. Telemachus- Telemachus was the son of Penelope and Odysseus. He was described in the epic poems the Iliad and The Odyssey, in which he developed from childhood to manhood. He was born on the very day that his father, Odysseus was called on to fight in the Trojan War. Telemachus literally means "far away fighter".

31. Medea- fanatic of the goddess Hecate, and one of the great sorceresses of the ancient world. She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, and the granddaughter of Helios, the sun god.

32. Jason- Jason is the admiral of Argonauts. He fetched the Golden Fleece in Colchis and returned with Medea, whom he later married. When he was young, Jason was secretly sent away to Centaur Chiron.

33. Golden Fleece- The Golden Fleece is the treasure Jason and Argonauts wanted to find. The Argonauts had to retrieve the Fleece to fulfill their Journey and allow Jason to claim what he inherited.

34. Perseus- Perseus was the son of Danae, the only child of Acrisius king of Argos. It was told to Acrisius that he would be killed by his daughter's child. In attempt to keep her from bearing children he kept her locked in a brazen chamber. However, Zeus impregnated her and she had her child Perseus. Acrisius cast Perseus and Danae into the sea in a wooden chest. They were found by Dictys, the brother of king Polydectes, who raised Perseus to manhood. But soon he wanted Perseus gone and sent him on a suicide mission to capture the head of Medusa. By viewing Medusa's reflection in his shield he could safely approach and cut off her head. The other two gorgons pursued him, but he became invisible and escaped.

35. Medusa-Gorgon- Medusa was the only mortal Gorgon of three. The Gorgons were monstrous feminine creatures who lived way out west and guarded the underworld. Medusa is said to have been a beautiful woman who turned anyone she looked at to stone. Athena was outraged at Medusa for lying in her temple with Poseidon and she turned Medusa's hair into living snakes. Medusa was killed by Perseus, who cut her head off and gave it to Athena.

36. Hyperion- The Titan who was the son of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Heavens). And who fathered Eos (the dawn), Helios (the sun), and Selene (the moon). His name means "high one".

37. Achilles - Achilles was fated to die in battle. As a baby, his mother held him by his ankle in the river Styx to make him immortal. During the Trojan War Achilles took an arrow to his heel, the only part of his body not dipped into the river Styx, and died.

38. Adonis- Adonis, in Greek mythology, beautiful youth beloved by Aphrodite and Persephone. He was incestuous union of Myrrh a (or Smyrna) and Cinyras, king of Cyprus. Aphrodite left Adonis in the care of Persephone, who raised him and made him her lover. Aphrodite later demanded the youth for herself, but Persephone was unwilling to relinquish him. When Adonis was hunting and gored to death by a boar, both Persephone and Aphrodite claimed him. Zeus settled the dispute by arranging for Adonis to spend half the year (the summer months) above the ground with Aphrodite and the other half in the underworld with Persephone. Adonis' death and resurrection, symbolic of the yearly cycle of vegetation, were widely celebrated in ancient Greece in the midsummer festival Adonia.

39. Amazons (women not the river) - The Amazons were a tribe of women warriors. They use to fight as skilled as men and would participate in many wars. The word Amazon means "breast-less". A story about the Amazons is that they use to take away the young girls right breast either by burning it off or cutting it off themselves. The reason for doing this act was to make it easier to utilize the bow and arrow, which was their main weapon but not their only. They would also use swords, axes, and shields in combat. They would worship the Goddess Artemis ­-Virgin Goddess of the hunt and The God of War-Ares. The tribe consisted of only women no men were allowed.  In order to breed, some say that they would mate with men from neighboring tribes. They would meet in the forest at night and use them until they got pregnant. Once they were pregnant they wouldn't need them anymore and in some cases kill them. If they obtained man slaves from a war they would keep them around in order to reproduce and then discard them. If the baby was a boy, they would kill him, cripple him, or blind him. In some cases they would keep the baby boy in order to use his seed f or future generations.

40. Argonauts - The sailors of the Good Ship Argo. They were brought together by the hero Jason to accompany him in the quest of the Golden Fleece. After many adventures, they came to Colchis and stole the fleece with the help of Medea and later returned home.  

41. Atlantis- The mythical city of Atlantis was first described by Plato to be a city of great beauty and great technology. Its advanced culture was said to be located in the waters of the Atlantic (hence the name Atlantis.) A great flood occurred, maybe cause by an underwater volcano, causing the water to rise and ultimately sink the city. Plato describes that the people were driven away from the gods with giving in to human weaknesses and Zeus soon put an end to this.

42. Caduceus- Originating in Mesopotamia around 2600 B.C., the caduceus is a staff with two snakes wrapped around it that originally symbolized commerce. It was associated with Hermes, who is the protector of merchants and thieves, and was often used by the ancient Greek priests. Since the seventh century, the caduceus has been connected to medicine.

43. Cassandra- Cassandra is known as the Greek Heroine for trying to save lives in the Trojan War. She was the daughter of King Priam of Troy and Queen Hecuba. The God Apollo was frantically in love with Cassandra's beauty and he gave her the power to see the future. However, when Cassandra did not return his love, Apollo placed a spell on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions.

44. Centaurs- The centaurs of Greek mythology are creatures that are part human and part horse. Usually shown with the chest head of a human, body of a horse.

45. Cerberus- In Greek mythology, Cerberus was the three-headed watchdog that guarded the entrance to Hades. Cerberus was the child of the giant Typhon and Echidna, a monstrous creature herself, being half woman and half snake. Cerberus permitted new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but allowed none of them to leave. Only a few ever managed to sneak past the creature, among which Orpheus, who lulled it to sleep by playing his lyre and Hercules, who brought it to the land of the living for a while (being the last of his Twelve Labors).

46. Scylla and Charybdis­- Scylla was once a nymph who was turned into a sea monster with twelve feet and six heads. She was found underneath a dangerous rock at one side of the strait of Messina. She would attack any ship that came within her reach and would often eat several of the ship's crew. Charybdis, like Scylla, was also at one point a myth, but was turned into a monster by Zeus. She lived in an underwater cave on one side of the Strait of Messina, opposite Scylla. Three times a day she would suck water in and out, creating a vicious whirlpool.

47. Cyclops- large one-eyed monster that made thunder bolts for Zeus in exchange for their freedom; was killed by Odysseus. Minotaur- a monster that had the head of a bull and the body of a man. It lived in Cretan labyrinth and was fed on human flesh until Theseus and Ariadne killed it.

48. Daedalus and Icarus - Daedalus was the son of Metion who was a descendant of the craftsman God Hephaestus. He was a great architect, artist and inventor. His reputation was great and King Minos of Crete (Island of the South Aegean Sea), invited him to build a palace in the city of Knossos, where he could hide his treasures from his enemies. Daedalus succeeded to build a complicate complex of rooms and corridors, the Labyrinth. King Minos was grateful to Daedalus but he could not let him go from the island, being afraid that he will tell the secret to the Athenians. Minos shut Daedalus and his son Icarus into the Labyrinth.  Daedalus had ready the solution for this difficult situation and by using his talent built wings glued with wax for him and Icarus. King Minos believed that Daedalus betrayed him and the two pioneer pilots escaped by air. Icarus flew near the sun and after his wings melted, dropped into the sea near the island, that is called today Ikaria. Daedalus arrived safe in Athens and traveled frequently, running away from King Minos who was chasing him .He built a temple to Apollo at the city of Kyme and dedicated his wings to God.

49. Deus ex Machina- Any agent, usually a god in Greek or Roman drama, that comes suddenly at just the right moment to solve a seemingly impossible situation.

50. Harpies- Also known as 'The Hounds of Zeus' were a group of feminine creatures, with beaks and claws. They would devour. Any food they could find something like the modem day vulture.

51. Mount Olympus- Where most of the important gods lived and held court, towering from the center of the earth.

52. Narcissus- A hero of the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty and his pride. He was so vain he fell in love with his own reflection. This beautiful God pined away with desire, eventually turning into the flower that bears his name.

53. Niobe - A symbol of eternal mourning, Niobe was the queen of Thebes and married to King Amphion of Thebes. She was punished by Leto, after she mocked him about his two children and boasted about her seven sons and seven daughters. Leto retaliated by sending his son, Apollo, and daughter, Artemis, to slaughter Niobe's family. In the shock of the death of all her family she fled to Mt. Syplon, where she was turned to stone and her tears formed a stream that runs ceaselessly to this day.

54. Socrates - An ancient Athenian philosopher whose insistent search for just knowledge challenged traditional society and led to his trial and execution on charges of sinfulness and corrupting the youth. Although Socrates wrote nothing, his method of question and answer is captured in the works of Plato, his greatest pupil.

55 Sisyphus and Tantalus- Sisyphus was a sly, evil god. He was the son of Aeous (King of Thessaly) and Enarete, and the founder of Corinth. He helped institute the Isthmian Games, but he betrayed the Gods and murdered innocent men. He is represented by a naked man. Tantalus was the son of Zeus, and king of Sipylos. He once attempted to test the omniscience of the gods by attempting to cut up his own son (Pelops) and feed him to the people. Although favored by mortals, Tantalus was later punished for his actions and was deprived of food and water. Fruit hung above his head, but it was always out of reach.

56. Theseus- Grandson of King of Troezen who lifted a boulder at age sixteen. He was raised by his grandfather and mother. One day the princess told Theseus his father was ruler of a mighty kingdom. The princess informed Theseus before his father's identity was revealed, Theseus need to complete the challenge given to him years ago. The challenge was to lift a mighty stone. Underneath his father placed something for his son to find if he managed to lift the weight.


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